January 28, 2018 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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January 28, 2018

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Catholic Schools Week Begins!

”Quiet!  Come out of him!”

 

 

Catholic Schools

The purpose of our Catholic School is to form saints and citizens in partnership with families.

Saints: Individuals who know and love Jesus and his Church.  Our goal in life is to get to heaven.  But we don’t get to heaven by accident, nor by just being a “good person”.  We get to heaven by God’s grace living in us and sanctifying us, in other words, by being a saint.

Good Citizens: Individuals who have virtue, can think critically, and seek truth. It is rare that modern education teaches the young morality and virtue.  However, without these, we have nothing to guide us and lead us in the right direction; rather, we are directed simply by our own passions and desires, and strive solely for what we think we want, rather than what God wants and what is best for the good of all society.  The development of virtue and critical thinking that teaches us how to seek the truth and find it is essential to being a good citizen.

In Partnership with Families: Education of children is essentially a partnership between the Church and the parents of the child.  Neither one nor the other alone can fulfill this responsibility.  The Church has always taught that

Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators”.  In addition, “in a special way, the duty of educating belongs to the Church, … [especially by] communicating the life of Christ to those who believe”.

This partnership between the parents and the Church is essential if the faith will be taught and strongly take root in the child’s life.

I believe Catholic Education is the best option for most families who truly want to pass on the faith to their children, because the Catholic School tirelessly works in partnership with the parents, re-enforcing the faith and the virtues that parents seek to teach.

Why I love Holy Cross:

  • Weekly Mass (in school)
  • Daily prayer (in school)
  • Learn about Jesus (in school)
  • Incorporate a Catholic worldview into every area of study, and teach our students how to integrate their faith into their daily lives, not separate them.

For these reasons, in addition to an excellent education in all subject matters, I personally encourage all parishioners of Immaculate Conception to consider sending your children to our wonderful school: Holy Cross.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

Bingo – Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018

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Please join us for our annual Parish Family Bingo on Sunday, January 21! Bring the whole family for a Sunday afternoon of fun, food and prizes. Invite your family and neighbors – everyone is welcome!

Bingo will be held in the Crusader Civic Center.

11:00am – lunch is available for purchase

Bingo games start at 12:00pm. Play bingo all afternoon for a cover charge of $3.00. Extra cards are available for $0.50 each.

Sponsored by the IC-CCW.

January 21, 2018 – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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 January 21, 2018

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

 

Praying for Life

Tomorrow, January 22nd, we remember the 45th anniversary of the horrific supreme court decision Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States.  For this reason, this day has become an important day of prayer and demonstration for the protection of life from conception until natural death.  I want to personally invite the entire parish to join me at two opportunities to support life:

Sunday, January 21st, we will have a Holy Hour at St. Nicholas from 4-5pm to pray for life.  We will pray together for those who have been wounded by abortion, for respect for the dignity of human life from conception to natural death, and that those who govern us may be guided by justice, truth, and a love for the gift of life.  (Come over after Bingo ; )

Monday, January 22nd, is the rally at the St. Paul Cathedral and Minnesota State Capital.  It begins with a prayer service at the Cathedral at 10:30am, followed by a rally at the Capital at noon.

Planned Parenthood just released their 2016-2017 annual report, and it shows that they committed 321,384 abortions last year alone.  That’s nearly 1/3 of a million people whose smiles we will never see, whose talents we will never know, and who will never have the opportunity in this world to love and be loved as a creature created in the image and likeness of God.

But more than that, Planned Parenthood alone is responsible for the deaths of over 7.6 million human babies since it legally began performing abortions in 1973 following Roe. vs. Wade.  And we, the US Taxpayers, were forced to give Planned Parenthood more than $543 million dollars last year to carry out their “business”.

We need to continue praying for life, for the day when life will again be respected in our world from conception until natural death.

One of my favorite Christian music groups is Casting Crowns.  And on their Christmas CD, (which I think is the best ever), they have one song that came to mind in particular as I was thinking about this topic of praying for life.  The song is called “While you were sleeping”, and talks about how Bethlehem missed recognizing Jesus because it was “sleeping”, and there was no room in the inn.  It then goes on to ask if the United States too is sleeping and will miss Jesus.

In particular, the song has a line that says, “…while we’re sound to sleep by philosophies of save the trees and kill the children…”  Our culture has done a great job of convincing us to protect the trees and the rest of the planet, but it has neglected those who should be the most treasured in our world: children, including the unborn.

Please join me at the upcoming prayer opportunities for life, and perhaps more importantly, please add to your daily prayers a prayer for the protection of life in our world.

You are in my daily prayers too.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

January 14, 2018 – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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January 14, 2018

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Behold, the Lamb of God.”

Introducing: Encounter

I’m very excited to announce this weekend a new parish opportunity I have been looking forward to starting since I arrived.  On Friday, January 26th, we will host our very first parish adoration event called: Encounter.

Growing up, Eucharistic Adoration, especially with music and communal prayer, was a very powerful way that I encountered God and experienced His love.  My hope is that many of you will attend this event and also experience God’s presence and love for you in a powerful way.

Encounter will be a time of Eucharistic Adoration, but perhaps in a way you have never experienced before.  There will be praise and worship music played.  And for this first event, not only will I be playing, but some friends of mine will be joining me to help lead very beautiful music.

There will be many, many candles, making a very beautiful, prayerful, and meditative atmosphere.

And we will conclude with Benediction, including bells and incense and all.

Encounter is open to all.  I hope young and old, families and singles, will all attend this wonderful event.

A few weeks ago, Fr. Barnes and I did a pulpit swap to talk about adoration and encourage our parishes to participate in this wonderful opportunity to be with Jesus.  I hope you take advantage of this time to spend with the Lord and encounter his love.  Encounter will be held monthly (on the 4th Friday when possible).

I hope you will plan to attend.  And please invite your friends (even non-parishioners and non-Catholics may attend!)

Encounter

Friday, January 26th

6:30-7:45pm

IC Church

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

January 7, 2018 – The Epiphany of the Lord

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January 7, 2018

The Epiphany of the Lord

 

“Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

 

Upcoming Opportunities

We have some exciting youth and all-parish opportunities coming up.

High school youth group

Our next high school youth group will be on Sunday, January 21st, from 5-8pm at St. Nicholas.  These nights are a lot of fun and include sports, food, prayer, and Q&A with the priests!  All high school teens are welcome to attend.

Middle school youth group

The next middle school youth group will be on Friday, January 19th, from 5-6:30pm at St. Nicholas.  These are even more crazy fun than high school youth group!  Come and get energized and enjoy time with other middle schoolers.

Pro-Life events

January 22nd is the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.  For this reason, this day has become an important day of prayer and demonstration for the protection of life from conception until natural death.  I want to personally invite the entire parish to join me at two opportunities to support life:

Sunday, January 21st, we will have a Holy Hour at St. Nicholas from 4-5pm to pray for life.

Monday, January 22nd, is the rally at the St. Paul Cathedral and Minnesota State Capital.  It begins with a prayer service at the Cathedral at 10:30am, followed by a rally at the Capital at noon.

We are working to coordinate a bus to the events at the Cathedral and Capital, so stay tuned for more information.  But be sure to mark it on your calendars right away.

It is very important that we participate in pro-life events like this.  Thankfully we are starting to see that the attitude in our country toward abortion is slowly changing!  And we need to keep praying, and keep showing our support for life by attending events like these.

That fact is, especially in an online world like we live in today, what we believe and stand up for doesn’t matter so much by what we claim we believe, or what we post on Facebook, rather, we show what we believe with our feet: Am I willing to show up to pray for this or to demonstrate for this?  (Or even more: To suffer for this in the January cold?)  Anyone can post their view online in a few seconds, but we prove that we are serious about it when we actually show up.

I ask that you please make these pro-life events a priority, and join me as we pray and demonstrate for life.

 

You are in my daily prayers.

 

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

Dec. 31, 2017 – The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

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December 31, 2017

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

 

“The child grew and became strong,

filled with wisdom;

and the favor of God was upon him.”

 

New Year’s Resolution

As 2017 comes to a close and we begin 2018 I want to recommend a “New Year’s Resolution” for everyone: Read at least one good faith-building book this year.

First and foremost, if reading the Bible is not already a part of your daily or weekly prayer routine, then start there.  We believe that the Holy Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, and have the power to change our lives by drawing us closer to the Lord who speaks to us.  Read a chapter of the Bible at least once a week.

One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is to read the Bible completely or at least more often, however, very few people actually succeed.  I would encourage you to begin by just reading the four Gospels.  The Gospels are the writings about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and are the very heart of the entire Bible, and they should have a primacy of place in our own reading and study of the Bible too.

Almost every night before I go to bed, I either say the rosary (if I haven’t already done it during the day), or I read one chapter of the Bible.  This is a great way to end the day, and also to ensure that reading of the Scriptures is a normal part of my daily life.

In addition to reading the Bible, we should all be reading good faith-building books.  This past year I read 24 books (some audiobooks)—About 20 of which were faith related books.  Among those, here is a short summary of two of the best:

Orthodoxy

by G K Chesterton

Orthodoxy has become a classic of Christian apologetics.  In the book’s preface Chesterton states the purpose is to “attempt an explanation, not of whether the Christian Faith can be believed, but of how he personally has come to believe it.”  He sees the faith as the answer to natural human needs, the “answer to a riddle” in his own words, and not simply as an arbitrary truth received from somewhere outside the boundaries of human experience.  Chesterton is one of the most insightful authors, and is able to look at reality in a completely different, outside of the box, kind of way.  However, as a fair warning, some parts in this book can seem a little confusing or strange at first, but after I read this a few times, I realized the depth of Chesterton’s thought.  Orthodoxy is one of my favorite books…ever.

Prayer Primer

by Fr. Thomas Dubay

This book is an excellent introduction to prayer.  Fr. Dubay invites the reader beyond simply memorized prayers and introduces you to the basics of meditation and leading into contemplation.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to develop a prayer life.

You are in my daily prayers.

God bless you,

Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke

December 24, 2017 – 4th Sunday of Advent

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December 24, 2017

4th Sunday of Advent

 

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.

May it be done to me according to your word.”

 

“And you shall name him Jesus

I would imagine that one of the joys (or perhaps dilemmas) of having a child is the great privilege of choosing a name for the child.  Many names are chosen from ancestors as a sign of family pride and unity.  Many children are also named after a saint who is important in the lives of their parents.  Others are given a particular name because their parents heard it somewhere and liked the name.  In all of these cases, the child is given a name as something that is significant to the parents and a desire or hope for the child’s own future.

In the case of Jesus, his name was not decided by his parents; rather, it was given to them directly from God the Father by the message of an angel.

We read in Luke 1:30-31, “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.’”

And again, in Matthew 1:20-21, “Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’”

The name Jesus is very significant.  The name itself means “God saves” (as the angel said to Joseph…“he shall save his people”).  Our English spelling of “Jesus” comes from the Latin “Iesus”, which comes from the Greek “Iesous”, which comes from the Hebrew “Yeshua”, and this means “Yah[weh] saves”.

Ever since Adam and Eve turned against God, the Lord has been planning to come and save us.  Throughout the Old Testament the people of Israel longed for God’s salvation in the coming Messiah.  And now in Christ, God has come.  He is Emmanuel, which means “God is with us”.  God has now come in the flesh to save his people.  In Jesus, God’s love for us becomes incarnate.

So let us be proud to call upon the name of Jesus.  Not only can we call out to him in prayer, but when we say his name, we also acknowledge that Jesus is our savior and that he is love.

I, and the rest of the Immaculate Conception staff, hope that you and your family have a very blessed and merry Christmas.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

December 17, 2017 – 3rd Sunday of Advent

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December 17, 2017

3rd Sunday of Advent

Gaudete Sunday

 

“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,

make straight the way of the Lord.”

 

The “O Antiphons”

Did you know that the verses of O Come, O Come Emmanuel (which I call the “theme song of Advent”) are very symbolic and correspond with the 7 days leading up to Christmas Eve?

Each of the verses of this song begins with a title for Christ, which connects back to an Old Testament prophecy about the coming Messiah.  These titles for Christ have been called the “O Antiphons” because when the Church includes them in Vespers (Evening Prayer), it adds the “O” before the specific title to make it more solemn.

Here are the seven titles and the day when the Church includes this title in Vespers:

December 17 – O Wisdom

See: Sirach 24:1, 3-4, 7; 1 Cor 1:24

December 18 – O Lord

See: Exodus 6:6; 20:2

December 19 – O Root of Jesse

See: Isaiah 11:1-5; Revelation 22:16

December 20 – O Key of David

See: Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7

December 21 – O Dayspring

See: Isaiah 9:2; Luke 1:78-79; John 8:12

December 22 – O King of the Nations

See: Ezekiel 37:21-28; Revelation 19:16

December 23 – O Emmanuel

See: Isaiah 7:10-14; Matthew 1:21-23;

John 1:1-18

As we approach these holy days in preparation for Jesus’ nativity, I encourage you to meditate on the verses of O Come, O Come Emmanuel (easily found online), and to look up in the Bible the scripture references (listed above) for each verse of the song.  Read it over, and then take a few moments to ponder God’s wonderful plan of salvation in sending us Christ, who fulfilled these promises of the Old Testament.  This might be a great way to do family prayers every evening this week: light the Advent wreath, read the scripture verses, and pray “Come Lord Jesus.”

You are in my daily prayers.  Please pray for me as we enter into these final days of Advent and prepare to welcome our Lord at Christmas.

God bless you,

Fr. VanDenBroeke

 

PLEASE NOTE

When sending mail to the Parish Office

or Fr. VanDenBroeke, our Mailing Address is: 

 202 Alabama Street SE

Advent Penance and Mass Services for Christmas and New Years

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Following is the schedule for special Advent Penance Services, and special Masses for Christmas and New Year’s. For the full Mass schedule, including regular weekend masses, daily masses and memorials, please visit our Mass Schedule page at churchoftheimmaculateconception.net/mass-schedule/

Monday, December 18
7:00pm – Penance Service at Most Holy Trinity, Veseli

Tuesday, December 19
7:00pm – Penance Service (here at Immaculate Conception)

Wednesday, December 20
7:00pm – Penance Service at St. Nicholas, New Market

*****

Sunday, December 24
4:00pm – Christmas Eve
9:30pm – Czech & English Christmas Carols
10:00pm – Christmas Eve

Monday, December 25
9:00am – Christmas Day

*****

Sunday, December 31
4:00pm – Vigil Mass, The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

Monday, January 1
9:00am – The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

Immaculate Conception Mass with Archbishop Hebda

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On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Friday, December 8, we were pleased to welcome Archbishop Hebda to our church! The feast of the Immaculate Conception is our Parish’s Feast Day.

Archbishop Hebda presided at Mass, with Father VanDenBroeke. After Mass, parish families and friends were invited to the Civic Center for coffee and goodies. Archbishop Hebda partook in the festivities, enjoying the treats and fellowship.

Please enjoy the pictures from this very special event!